GARY WORONCHAK TO RUN FOR MAYOR OF DEARBORN
Gary Woronchak, former chairman of the Wayne County Commission who also served as a state representative, has filed documents to become a candidate for Mayor of Dearborn.
With the announcement that Mayor John B. O’Reilly Jr. will not seek re-election this year, Dearborn will elect a new mayor for the first time in 15 years. The primary election is August 3, with the top two in that race advancing to the general election November 2.
Woronchak was Dearborn’s state representative for six years before being elected to the Wayne County Commission in 2004. He was elected by his fellow commissioners in 2011 to be chairman of the commission, a position he held until leaving the commission at the end of 2018.
Prior to holding office, Woronchak was Editor of the Dearborn Press & Guide for several years, “providing information to residents while delving into the issues and traditions that have shaped our city,” Woronchak said.
“Holding positions of responsibility in Dearborn for most of my life has prepared me to serve as mayor,” Woronchak said. “My background in communications has helped me keep residents informed about and connected with their government, and my work in different levels of government has given me experience that will be beneficial to the city.
“Dearborn faces continued challenges from the pandemic, not just in public health but also its devastating effects on small businesses, how it has impacted our children’s education, and the general economy,” Woronchak said. “Long-term impacts on the financial health of our government and the continued delivery of important services are uncertain. Our challenges demand strong leadership and an ability to bring people together, and keep them informed and engaged as we move forward as one Dearborn.”
As chair of the Wayne County Commission, Woronchak provided leadership through challenging times for the county, and worked with Wayne County Executive Warren Evans to help restore fiscal stability to the county after its finances were rocked by the housing market collapse and recession of 2007-2009.
Under his leadership, the commission adopted the county’s first-ever ethics ordinance, which established standards of conduct for county employees and created a system to hold them accountable through an ethics board, which reviews complaints of ethical violations.
Woronchak brought more than $1 million to Dearborn in grants from the county’s parks millage for a variety of projects at city parks and playgrounds. He championed a parks millage ordinance that guarantees funding for improvements to local parks.
Drawing on his experience as a journalist, Woronchak developed a Citizen’s Guide to Wayne County Government to explain to residents the structure of county government, the services it provides and contact information for all county officials. The Citizen’s Guide booklet is still distributed by commissioners to residents throughout the county.
As a state representative, Woronchak secured an amendment to the state School Aid Act to bring $2.5 million more annually to Dearborn Public Schools for at-risk programs, an action that brought $20 million to the school district before the funding was ended in 2011.
He also obtained a $5 million appropriation for the addition of an IMAX theater at Henry Ford Museum, and a $1 million grant to ACCESS toward construction of the Arab-American service agency’s health center.
During his time in the state House, Woronchak introduced 22 bills that became Public Acts, including helping in the creation of the Michigan Education Savings Program, which has been used by thousands of families to save for college; giving cities tools to fight blight in neighborhoods; consumer protection related to halal food; and campaign finance reform that resulted in the electronic filing system that voters use today for transparency in campaign donations to elected officials.
Also, Woronchak is known for his Senior Citizen Conference, attended annually for 20 years by hundreds of residents age 60 and over. The event featured health screenings, vendor tables, an array of speakers on topics of interest to seniors, and a featured speaker who is usually a local media personality.
Woronchak was raised in Dearborn, graduated from Edsel Ford High School and holds degrees from Henry Ford College and the University of Michigan-Dearborn.
GARY'S FACEBOOK POST ANNOUNCING CANDIDACY
Today, in consultation with my family and with encouragement from many within our community, I filed documents to officially become a candidate for Mayor of Dearborn.
While his plans had been widely anticipated, I believe it was respectful to wait for official word that Mayor Jack O’Reilly would not seek re-election before declaring my candidacy. His announcement came last week. Whether or not one always agreed with his policies, Mayor O’Reilly deserves our gratitude for three decades of service to Dearborn, on the City Council and as Mayor.
This year, we will elect a new mayor for the first time in 15 years. It’s important that we choose someone who has demonstrated the ability to provide leadership and make important decisions while seeking guidance from those affected by those decisions: You, our residents.
I have served our community as its State Representative and then on the Wayne County Commission, where I was selected by my colleagues to lead as Chair of the Commission.
I also worked for years as Editor of the Dearborn Press & Guide, providing information to residents while delving into the issues and traditions that have shaped our city … our great city, where I was raised and educated, where my wife Vivian and I raised our family, and where another generation of our family is being raised today.
Holding positions of responsibility in Dearborn for most of my life has prepared me to serve as your mayor. Along with my own experience, your experience with me serving our community is important, too. It will be you who judges whether I have worked effectively in Dearborn’s best interests, gotten results for our community and communicated well to keep you informed about, and involved with your government.
I think it’s important to point out that we are still early in this process. The field of candidates won’t be final until the filing and withdrawal deadlines near the end of April. The primary election will be held August 3, to determine which two candidates will advance to the general election November 2. There’s a long road ahead and, frankly, I believe we all need a cooling period in our politics. Nonetheless, as things are taking shape in this year’s important process, I thought it was time to declare my candidacy.
Our community faces continued challenges from the pandemic, not just in public health, but also its devastating effects on small businesses, how it has impacted our children’s education, and the general economy. Long-term impacts on the financial health of our government and the continued delivery of important services are unknown. Our challenges demand strong leadership and an ability to bring people together, and keep them informed and engaged as we move forward as one Dearborn.
I hope you will consider my background, experience and performance as a public servant as you decide who is best prepared and suited to lead our community forward.
As always, I welcome your feedback. Let me know what you think. More information about my record of service is at gary4dearborn.com, and you can contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org. And, you can follow campaign activities and announcements on Facebook by liking or following my page, Gary Woronchak For Dearborn.
I appreciate your consideration. Thank you.